This semi-fitted shift dress is perfect for practising key techniques such as inserting facings, sleeves and a concealed zip. The hem is finished with a narrow band of self fabric bias binding as a mini facing. There is also a choice between a high or V-neck and the pattern can be shortened to make a T-shirt variation. The casual style means minimal fitting for a fuss-free garment that will flatter most figures.
- Woven fabric with some drape, 150cm wide, 2.5m or 114 cm wide, 2.7m
- Lightweight fusible interfacing, 40cm
- Invisible zip, 28cm
- Coordinating sewing thread
- Custom sized
Sew a shift dress
Trace the pattern from your pattern sheet onto dressmaker’s tissue paper, transferring all the markings. Using the cutting guide, cut all the pieces from fabric. There are different front facings depending whether you’re making the high or V-neck option. Pin and sew the bust darts on the front piece. Press the darts down towards the hem. With right sides facing, pin the front and back together at the shoulder seams. Machine stitch. Neaten the seam allowances and press the seams open.
If using, apply fusible interfacing to the front and back neck facings. With right sides together, pin the facings at the shoulder seams. Machine stitch. Neaten the seam allowances and press the seams open.Neaten the lower edge of the facing with a zig zag stitch or an overlocker.
Lay the dress flat, with the right side facing up. Lay the facing right side down on top, matching up the raw edges of the neckline and the shoulder seams. Pin, then sew around the neckline. Clip around the neckline curve to allow it to sit flat when turned right side out .
Press both the facing and the seam allowance away from the body of the dress. Understitch the facing around the neckline, sewing only through the facing and the seam allowance. Secure the facing to the shoulder seam allowance with a few small hand stitches.
From dress fabric, make strips of bias binding for your hem. You’ll need two strips up to 78cm long; depending on the size you’re making, there will probably be a little leftover to trim off.Fold the two strips of bias binding in half lengthways, with the wrong sides on the inside. Press in place.
With right sides together, aligning all the raw edges, pin the bias binding around the edge of the hem on the right side of the front of the dress, following the pattern markings and gently curving the binding around the hem . Sew it in place, stitching 1cm from the edge. Repeat on the back of the dress. Trim and grade the seam allowances.
Roll the bias binding over to the wrong side of the hem, so it’s not seen from the front, and press. Pin in place and edge stitch really close to the fold of the bias. From the wrong side, press the hem . This sets and stretches out the stitches.
Locate the zip placement notches on the left side seam of the back piece. Change to an invisible zip foot. Insert an invisible zip, then stitch the seam below as far as the hem. Stitch the seam above the zip up to the armhole in the same way . Pin and stitch the right side seam, then neaten the seam allowance and press the seam open.
Fold the sleeves in half, right sides together. Pin and sew the underarm seams . Neaten the seam allowances separately, then press the seams open. Press 1cm, then 2cm to the wrong side on the lower edge of each sleeve. Slip stitch the folded edge of the sleeve hem in place .
Turn the sleeves right side out. With the dress inside out, slip the sleeves through the armholes, matching up underarm seams with side seams and shoulder seams with notches on the sleeve heads. Pin around the armholes, easing the sleeve heads into the shoulders with extra pins.
Use horizontally placed pins to help the sleeves fit without tucks or gathers, or roll the armhole over your hand to distribute the fullness. Carefully sew around the armhole, removing the pins as you work and holding it taut to ease in the sleeve head. Neaten the seam allowances and press the armhole seams towards the sleeve.